All entries by this author

Skull Fuels Homo erectus Debate *

Jul 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Small skull could show diversity within species, or different species.… Read the rest

Carl Zimmer on a New Hominid Find *

Jul 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Is human development straight or branching? How important were long legs and big brains?… Read the rest

Big Al

Jul 3rd, 2004 1:07 am | By

That article of Steven Waldman’s has sent me to dear old Alexis de Tocqueville, the darling percipient frog that he is. Because Waldman’s whole schtick in that article is just exactly the kind of thing Tocqueville, and, inspired by him, John Stuart Mill, had in mind. The old majority opinion trick – the old ‘We all think this so you’d better think it too or else, and never mind whether it’s true or not just shut up and think what you’re told.’ I actually don’t think Waldman is really talking about Kerry there, I think that’s just a pretext – a disguise, a mask, a beard for what he really wants to say, which is that Most Americans believe in … Read the rest

Tony Judt on Edward Said *

Jul 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Frowned on overfamiliarity with “theory” at the expense of close textual reading.… Read the rest

Guardian List of 101 Women ‘Intellectuals’ *

Jul 2nd, 2004 | Filed by

Desperate list includes singers, actors, novelists, fashion designers.… Read the rest

Proud to be Abnormal

Jul 1st, 2004 9:10 pm | By

We’ve seen some stupid stuff in the You-Have-to-Believe-in-God department, but this pile of steaming nonsense in Slate is really – well, hard to believe. Get this part, for example:

But in general, most Republicans and most Democrats are pretty religious. The stark differences are at the extremes of each party, and, as so often is the case, the big question is whether the extremes will define the party as a whole. Most Republicans aren’t conservative fundamentalists, although it sometimes seems that way given the proclivities of the leadership. And the Democrats have their own version of that same dilemma, and it’s affecting the most important arena there is-this year’s presidential race: Will Kerry’s Democrats act like the Party of Secularists

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Polio Vaccinations can Resume in Nigeria *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Confirmation that Kano will start vaccinating again is huge relief to WHO.… Read the rest

Orders to Get Religion Get Blunter Every Day *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

‘If Kerry’s really secular, he’s abnormal.’… Read the rest

EU Commissioner Nails Vatican ‘Bigotry’ *

Jul 1st, 2004 | Filed by

Opposition to condoms ‘hurting and bringing into great danger the lives of millions out there.’… Read the rest


Jul 1st, 2004 12:07 am | By

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Bush administration is not entirely popular with scientists. The Independent tells us that more than four thousand of them have signed a petition by the Union of Concerned Scientists demanding an improvement.

“Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States the world’s most powerful nation, and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy,” the report says. “Although scientific input to the government is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should always be weighed from an objective and impartial perspective to avoid perilous consequences. Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and

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Carl Zimmer on Machiavellian Monkeys *

Jun 30th, 2004 | Filed by

Big brains and theory of mind are useful for lying and manipulating.… Read the rest

It Takes a Big Brain to Make a Trickster *

Jun 30th, 2004 | Filed by

Machiavellian intelligence, complex social skills, large primate brains go together.… Read the rest

Letters to the Guardian on GM Food *

Jun 30th, 2004 | Filed by

‘If scientific evidence cannot be accepted as good grounds for decision-making, what can?’… Read the rest

Dale Peck and Tom Eliot: Cool Pair *

Jun 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Criticism, gangster rap, extreme makeovers – all part of the entertainment industry.… Read the rest

Whither the US Public Intellectual? *

Jun 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Decline, advance? Better, worse? More insular, more public? Yes. Or no.… Read the rest

More than 4000 Scientists Protest *

Jun 29th, 2004 | Filed by

Scientists accuse Bush administration of twisting science for its own ideological ends.… Read the rest

Cellphones and Actor-observer Paradox *

Jun 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Mobiles give delusions of grandeur and a segregating sense of superiority.… Read the rest

Problems With the Precautionary Principle *

Jun 28th, 2004 | Filed by

Our obsession with keeping safe can expose us to new dangers.… Read the rest

The Guardian Considers ‘Presentism’ *

Jun 28th, 2004 | Filed by

How far off the hook should we let morally obtuse people who are long gone?… Read the rest

West and Central Africa at Risk of Polio *

Jun 27th, 2004 | Filed by

Officials announced a 22-country synchronized vaccination campaign for autumn.… Read the rest